India - China: Building Strategic Infrastructure along LAC and Mountain Ecology
STORIES, ANALYSES, EXPERT VIEWS
India is majorly ramping up infrastructure development across LAC. But, in the light of the recent land subsidence disaster in Uttarakhand’s Joshimath, The Times of India writes “given the sensitive ecology of Ladakh, GoI also needs to be extra careful…….Activists from the region have been pointing out that unsustainable construction, industries and tourism can bring catastrophic consequences to the fragile zone. Studies by Kashmir University and other organisations show that glaciers in the Leh-Ladakh region will deplete by two-thirds unless conservation efforts are stepped up. These glaciers are already melting faster than expected due to construction of highways and human activities.
“Add to this government’s amendments to the Environment Impact Assessment Rules last year that exempt highway projects of strategic and defence importance that are 100 km from the borders from obtaining environmental clearance. This rightly raises concerns about the damage being done to sensitive ecosystems.
The paper suggests “strict protocols need to be worked out to ensure even strategic projects in sensitive regions have the least impact on the environment. Ultimately, ecological disasters will also jeopardise strategic objectives. Case in point, the Joshimath crisis forced our troops stationed in the area to move to a different location…..”